Monday, April 26, 2010

Mon Apr 26 - Sun May 2


Hooray for paint, paper, and paint-applying tools! And sploshing around, with little preconceived direction. :)

Letting The Paint Fall Where It May
April 2010
KitchenStudio
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TueSDaY

Math is kicking my ass tonight! And my brain too. Word problems......yeaargh! And percentages!

We drew big animal skulls this afternoon. I need to find a new method of mark-making. Lots of inspiration from my esteemed colleagues though! In Design class we are doing self-portrait text collages. We handed in our last project and I forgot to bring my camera and snap pictures. We worked on our projects in class only.

I honestly do not understand how the day has passed so quickly. I even hauled out of bed at 6:30 this morning. Tired now. Good night, sorry for such a dry post. I feel despondent at how little I seemed to accomplish today despite the long hours. I trust that something mildly profound is going on at a subatomic level, under my egoic radar.
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Wednesday,

wow okay, now we're halfway through The Term! And Summer classes have been posted! Time is definitely moving differently from my new vantage position as student.

Earlier, before classes, I messed around with stamping and repetitive shapes. I began the impromptu exercise doing random stampings, trying for an emergent property/organic/spontaneous angle. That didn't fly. So I organized the marks into rows, imposing a little order on things. Trying to keep in mind all I'm learning and looking at art-wise that is related to the classes I'm in (drawing, design) = composition, hierarchy of shape, rhythm, repetition/echoing shapes, focus (active vs. resting).

I did a couple of postcards and liked developing the layers and the idea, so I played with the photos a bit and came up with these. You can click on 'em for bigs this time; I uploaded pretty large files (and I want some prints of these so I'll research something in that realm this weekend).



I'd like to do some biggers -- I mean maybe not wall-sized, but certainly as big as our drawing sized sheets at 18 x 24......but maybe even bigger! Maybe more white space on the left? And when the canvas is bigger, what size shall I make the 'bricks'? And how will I render those marching bricks -- I want a certain uniformity and exactness, but not so much or it will be boring. So I don't think spraying out shapes with a template would be the answer. I like the stamp pad a lot -- I went over the shapes again with acrylic, and then even again with the stamp pad.

Also, I used an eraser that was broken in half as the stamper.

Plus I want to make that red really red on the canvas, so......how to do that (pop it out against white?).



I am trying to figure out how to settle down and focus on just a couple things instead of a whole barrel-full. It's pretty crazy, how many directions I go in at once, or in rapid-fire succession. It's not very productive and I feel agitated. Is this, in part, a product of growing older? Feeling the years creeping up, and thinking oh my god, there isn't much time left? I mean who the hell knows when you're number is up anyway but still....this sense of needing to accomplish so much more is exhausting.

Today, once I (finally) rested on a locus, I became absorbed in the development and unfolding of discovery and everything else quieted down. That is what I love about creating, and it's so strange how a part of me resists settling down or insists on keeping me hyper-alert. There is this fear that I'm wasting my time, that in the end I'll have nothing to show for my investment. Good lord!! Have I really forgotten how to just play??

Nawwww. But the weight of my years...they're threatening to tow me under...okay enough histrionics.

And here is one last manipulation I thought was interesting......they all have their moments and different aspects that I really like.......


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Thursday

I'm feeling less stressed out about how fast the days go vs. how 'little' I accomplish. I ordered the critic to stand down lest we all go completely bonkers. I can't add any hours to the day; I won't give up brushing my teeth or eating food that's healthy which requires time to prepare or shorting myself on exercise; I'm doing the best I can and I'm not sitting around with my thumb up my ass watching the quintessential season of LOST, or re-runs of Married with Children, you know? So I'm easing up on myself. It doesn't do me any good to stress out about how much better/faster/more accomplished I think I should be.

I do, however, wish that people in art studio classes weren't so chatty and disruptive. I can't concentrate with all that bok-bok-bok going on. I've never been one to be able to study with music, television or movies going on either. And I certainly can't carry on any sort of conversation and do art simultaneously -- unless I'm doing something rote, like tracing or inking something that's penciled.

anyway :)

Here we have some studies done over the last two weeks including this afternoon (last pic) in our Beginning Drawing class. Our dear Mr. G has been present and accounted for and I'm pleased about that. I'm learning stuff. Stuff in addition to drawing, even. Bonus!






So right now we're learning about value, edge, alpha dark lipsmacking that alpha white to produce that focal point - and the further from focal, the fuzzier and looser we draw so as not to compete and frenzy the eye or create visual conflict. Tension is good, chaos is not. These are great principles to be learning. It's why I'm in school. Lots to keep in mind while you're plundering a canvas, to be sure :)

ps - I received written congratulatory notification today from the Ford Family Foundation: I've been chosen for an interview to receive a scholarship that would pay for everything the Pell Grant doesn't cover for the 2010-11 school year (I'm talking everything....rent, bills, food, art supplies). They reviewed 554 applications and will interview 88 people, selecting up to 45 to receive the Ford ReStart Award for women such as myself (non-traditional students, returning after a long hiatus, with little or no college). The FFF is based in Eugene -- my interview is May 20th. I'm pretty thrilled to have just been chosen; that helps my confidence, knowing that I filled out the application in an adroit and articulate manner......plus my old boss at the Library gave me a totally kick-ass letter of recommendation.
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Fryday. As in, totally fried.

I do not feel invigorated, energized or inspired by the hours of time I invested in a Design project today. This really sucks. No, I'm not going to post it either. It's a text collage self-portrait and I did two (one yesterday in class). I'm trying to view today's three (four???) hours of cut and paste as a learning experience but to tell you the fucking truth, I don't really give a shit about learning anything since I feel like I just wasted my time.

It's also because I wanted to create something playful but sophisticated, and I did not accomplish either. I didn't have fun. I'm in a dark mood. Now the doubts and heavy self-crit crowd in and it's standing room only.

Knowing when you've hit diminishing returns, and knowing when to hang in there just a bit longer because that state of absorption and creativity that galvanizes is right around the corner can be a toughie. I think right now I need a break. I think I do know the difference, actually, and I should give myself more credit for my intuition and skills than I do. And be more friendly to myself too. Goddamn it, be friendlier! Or I'll smack ya!

***
intermission

One of my recently found and now-favorite illustrators (podcast) is Chris Oatley. I just remembered two things I read on his site that heartened me mighty:

Keep working at it. You'll get it.

You are beautiful and creative.

Thanks for the modern-day mantras. I feel a glimmer of remembered hope. Actually, I really do feel a bit better....there is this weird post-post-post christian guilt complex (despite me divorcing them all...religion is like the psycho ex that haunts and stalks you, the fucker) that plays heavily into my black moods when I don't do something perfectly, or when I think I'm wasting time. I'm now also recalling a passage in Art and Fear (by David Bayles and Ted Orland) that I read last night, about imperfections:

"For you, the seed for your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections (or mistakes, if you're feeling particularly depressed about them today) are your guides - valuable, reliable, objective, non-judgmental guides - to matters you need to reconsider or develop further. It is precisely this interaction between the ideal and the real that locks your art into the real world, and gives meaning to both."

Here's some more, I'm finding this remarkably reassuring and it's undermining the Standing Room Only Crowd:

"If you think good work is somehow synonymous with perfect work, you are headed for big trouble. Art is human; error is human; ergo, art is error. Inevitably, your work (like, uh, the preceding syllogism...) will be flawed. Why? Because you're a human being, and only human beings, warts and all, make art. Without warts it is not clear what you would be, but clearly you wouldn't be one of us."

(I had a wart removed from my neck several weeks ago, now I want it back)

the Doubts persist: What if I fail to learn, or if I fail to evolve? What good does all the imperfection do me if I'm incapable of learning from my imperfections and mistakes? What if I just don't 'get it' and I won't, ever? Folks, this is seriously one of my deepest fears -- that I was born with a missing piece, that there is a secret I'll never be privy to.

Doesn't this seem like a part of me is just hell-bent on fucking me over? WELL STOP THAT!

"Nonetheless, the belief persists among some artists (and lots of ex-artists) that doing art means doing things flawlessly - ignoring the fact that this prerequisite would disqualify most existing works of art. Indeed, it seems vastly more plausible to advance the counter-principle, namely that imperfection is not only a common ingredient in art, but very likely an essential ingredient. Ansel Adams, never one to mistake precision for perfection, often recalled the old adage that "The perfect is the enemy of the good", his point being that if he waited for everything in the scene to be exactly right, he'd probably never make a photograph."

AWESOOOOME!!!

Now I'm ready to post a picture of yesterday's collage endeavor:


Break up the text a bit, it's hard to look at a blog post with a shitload of text. Ha ha! There's text in the collage, neener neener!

So yeah, this was all over the place and I did learn a few things, as you will see from today's project, which I am mostly done being pouty about. The text reads 'art is the antidote', a phrase I coined, at least for myself, as I haven't heard it before. You can click for bigs.




Sigh. I shall gird my loins and try again another time.

"Adams was right: to require perfection is to invite paralysis. The pattern is predictable: as you see error in what you have done, you steer your work toward what you imagine you can do perfectly. You cling ever more tightly to what you already know you can do - away from risk and exploration, and possibly further from the work of your heart. You find reasons to procrastinate, since to not work is to not make mistakes. Believing that artwork should be perfect, you gradually become convinced that you cannot make such work. (You are correct.) Sooner or later, since you cannot do what you are trying to do, you quit. And in one of those perverse little ironies of life, only the pattern itself achieves perfection - a perfect death spiral: you misdirect your work; you stall; you quit.

To demand perfection is to deny your ordinary (and universal) humanity, as though you would be better off without it. Yet this humanity is the ultimate source of your work; your perfectionism denies you the very thing you need to get your work done. Getting on with your work requires a recognition that perfection itself is (paradoxically) a flawed concept."

amen and good afternoon, ladies and gents

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Saturday!!

"I find it exhilarating to start a canvas with no idea how it will turn out, no pre-conceived ideas, just a process that is relentlessly demanding and seldom rewarding. But, Oh!, when it all comes together and you realize that you fought all the doubts and all the demons and you won."
-Clifford Wilton


Abstract 373
2009
Oil on Canvas
43 x 62 inches

Oh!, my god! I'm seriously in rapture here. This painting by Clifford Wilton is so arresting my attention. His words ring so clear. I feel so human. I love this. I found the....what do you call these things? that artists make, the postcards, sometimes very oversized, to announce their shows? as I was walking to figure drawing studio this morning up in Lawrence Hall. His Recent Paintings are presented by the Office of the Governor and Oregon Arts Commission; he's showing in Salem through May 7th. That's the only reason I'd ever go to back to Salem (been there once, my experience is not one I'd repeat and I'd not live in Salem).

I wonder if he painted over the canvas umpteen times. I wonder what his process is. I'll look him up online.

Hey! I bought a canvas today! There's a mega sale going on at our Oregon Art Supply. I want some biggers....maybe tomorrow I'll walk downtown, snag a couple biggies and ride the bus back home (drop me off about two blocks away). I was able to secure the canvas I bought this afternoon to the rack on my bike, but any bigger and I wouldn't be able to. I also bought some brushes.

There is an in-process on the floor over there, awaiting further experimentation.....does it spoil it, or not, if I show in-process? I mean, I like to see that sort of stuff on other peoples' blogs and sites....actually there are two....



What a gorgeous day today. Warm, sunny. Drawing session was productive. By this I refer to the state of being absorbed -- even though I'm not super excited about the drawings themselves (there are some fine moments in each), I am very...satisfied?....content?....that after about an hour I sunk into being absorbed in the whole process of it. I guess I stopped fighting.

Here is the progression:






Sandy, a fellow artist whose drawings I really admire and appreciate, and whose personality and temperament suggest a very balanced person, and who I like talking with - she said to stop using newsprint. Because I'm too good a draw-er. Usually I don't repeat stuff like this, you know? Ugh, I don't mean to be annoying and toot my horn, right? I was completed gobsmacked. I mean she's been drawing for YEARS, she knows her way around a canvas, so it's not an off-hand comment. I felt really heartened. I think what she sees is the potential, and I'm glad for her feedback. She doesn't gush, and I wouldn't want her to, but she is honest in her appraisals, and positive.

Those last two are not on newsprint, by the way.

Our model today was great. Inexperienced, and wonderful. I happened to be on the receiving end of a lot of foreshortening opportunities. I was up for the challenge of that today!

Of the next-to-last drawing up there, my next door neighbor (who often works in sumi but today was working with vine charcoal) remarked that it reminded her of (the painter, yes) Francis Bacon's work. I looked him up, I've been meaning to.......wow. I'm galvanized!

I'm very interested in abstracts and certain landscapes lately, too. Part of it is just being exposed to more art, and seeking out art. Part of it is that I've been trying so hard...too hard...to render the human figure in a more, well, western representational/realistic style, wanting so much to see and then draw, build a good foundation.....and I'm not seeing the kind of progress I know I am capable of, and I don't know why except that I'm trying too hard. So fuck it, I'm not going to try so hard.

I'll just try really hard at abstracts instead!

mwahahahahahaaaaa

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Sunday May Two

I messed around with that canvas. Hmmmmm...........I think I'll make a circle accordion book out of it. It's okay, I mean, it was good practice/learning medium/freestyley session.


Well just a sec, I think I need to hang it up and stand back to look at it; still, I think I'll transform it into a circle accordion book. The idea came from a class that a new acquaintance/fellow artist is teaching at the Oregon Art Supply store. I found some (very well- written, complete and clear) instructions for making the book, online (not by Jill Cardinal, the teacher).

***

later that day......


20 x 24"

Well so okay, the book idea, I'm saving for another day and another canvas, TBD. I decided instead to, well you see what I decided. Cut it up and re-arrange it! Four-inch squares recombined to make a brand new picture! It was pretty cool to lay 'em all out and play puzzle-pieces, arranging and moving them around. Once I decided that the repetition would be in the orientation of the arc, it went pretty fast (fast being a relative term). Then I glued 'em all down while listening to Mark Rudolph and Jerzy Drozd over at Art and Story. Thanks for the company, guys.....now that I paused the podcast, my studio feels so...very....quiet. Like there is a gaping hole where you guys were just moment ago. :)

Actually, I also unplugged the ticking clock. Well, and by unplugged I mean, removed the battery. I can't believe I lived a whole year with a clock ticking in my studio. It's SO not me. I notice now how much I glance at it, and how anxious I was feeling with the tick-tick-tick of time passing, jesus, almost like a death knoll.

It's all part of my plan to reduce anxiety and agitation. I think it's working.

God! It's so blissfully quiet now! Why didn't I do this sooner?!

I'm going to recommend a great movie now: A Town Called Panic. Holy mother of mackerel! It's a French stop-motion film based on a Belgian TV series. It's phenomenal. You. Must. See. This. Jackie and I laughed for an hour-and-a-half straight, it's very absurd. Upon exiting the aisle, the folks who we sat next to said that they enjoyed our response to the film more than they enjoyed the film itself. Well!

Jackie and I also made a sort of buddy-promise, with pinky-promises too: Good Books. We bought snacks after the movie and walked to a very nice spot under some trees with ducks quacking in the creek behind us, sun shining, really great. Then walking back to her car I said I wanted to start bringing a notebook with me everywhere to record things that tickled me, that are positive and re-affirming (awwwwwwwww). No seriously -- cuz it's so easy to slump into a negative rut, seeing and remembering all the shit that happens, however small. So irritating. And here we've spent two hours laughing (because we have to re-enact all the absurd scenes in the movie, and screech about it) -- this momentum needs to be encouraged.

I suggested that we could do it together and she said Okay sure, we'll call it The Good Book, make our own damn Bible. YESSSSSssssss! Every day we're writing at minimum one thing. I love doing stuff like this.

My other friend Jacque made me a notebook a few years ago now. I've been waiting for the perfect thing to use it for, and this is it. Look at it:



Much cooler in person of course, and the inside front and back is done up pretty damn sweet too.

Earlier today I pieced together Summer courses....it's going to be very interesting. Two are for 8 weeks: Math, and Drawing for Media (o yay). Another, a biology (microbes) is a four-week class, offered online. Then there is a marathon Intermediate Drawing in September, one week before Fall Term begins, that runs six days, twelve hours per day (9am - 9pm). INSANE! I'm going for it!

I think :)

YES I CAN!! GO GO GO GO!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mon Apr 19 - Sun Apr 25


Wow! Welcome to another week! And the end of a monday.

I'm a junkie. I'm addicted to making art that goes ZING. As well as bang and boom. Here is what I'd also like to do: be just as enthused about the freaking process and the so-called 'misses' and bring a wow-factor in to roost as permanent cheerleader for said Process. I want a shift in paradigm if you please. Let us make it so. To do that I think an important step is to untangle Worth and Productivity. They are discreet and yet, as you well know, regarded and regaled as inseparable.

"Artists don't get down to work
until the pain of working is exceeded
by the pain of not working."
Stephen DeStaebler

Time marches on and I have miles to go before I sleep so once again, good night and here is a WIP:





I'm definitely preferring the floor lately. There is more room and I am also preferring larger canvases.

Also, I don't understand why, when I upload a fairly large file, you cannot click on it and the browser opens up another window with the larger picture. Or is it just me? What is going on, eh?
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tuessssday

Finished! 26 x 23"



Our drawing instructor cancelled class today, so I used the studio for these doodles:





I talked with our Dean today about instructor absenteeisms and cutting out of class early. We will see what happens.

Math! Small victories! And on the next page a big WTF. Ah well. I will ask about that tomorrow in class, before the test. I'm so glad and astonished that the algebra I learned in high school is actually still kicking around the ol' brainpan, in the back of the dusty closet, but there nonetheless.

Wednesday,
cheater cheater, I'm blogging from memory.......what the hell happened on wednesday? I met with an advisor, told him my academic plan for the coming year, he told me about his fabulous retirement plans (he will also be a philanthropist), and he cleared me for one year's worth of advance registration. In mid-may I will be able to register for FALL TERM. SHYEAH!! On the 4th of May I'll be able to register for summer classes. I'm considering the marathon week of drawing course, did I mention that? Oh yeah, well......7 days, 12 hours a day. That sounds rather suicidal actually. If I feel mentally and emotionally hardy, I'll go for it.

Thursday,
I think this was the math test. I was cross-eyed by the finish line but I think I did awright. The great thing about learning how to solve linear equations is that you can go back and plug in your answer to see if it works. If it doesn't, well then you know you need to go back and figure out where you took a left turn.

I need to figure out a new packable lunch, I am getting sick of my rice beans salsa and guacamole bowl. All these people sitting around eating great big slices of aromatic cheesy pizza.......argh! cheese fucks me up though.

Kind of a whirlwind week.....oh yeah I met with the Dean of Art on wednesday too. He was pretty cool - the next day (thursday)

god I am just rambling whatever blah blah blah

anyway he came into drawing class to see if our dear Mr. G was in attendance and teaching us, so it was nice to observe that our Dean took my concerns to heart (he said that other students have given him similar feedback). Mr. G gave us our first full three hour class this day.

Friday. Today. for reals.

I'm not even posting any of the art I'm doing. I am going through another crisis, whilst trying to play it down and not give my doubts any undue advantage or undeserved limelight. Plus I think allergies are throwing a wrench in my system, which always messes with my emotions. I keep telling myself that I am allowed to make as much bad (uninteresting, ugly, mediocre, etc) art as I want to. It is really supremely ungodly undignified how difficult it is for me to accept that I make yucky to look at art. It's so ridiculous how much identity is snarled up in art, but it's totally normal.

there is a part of me who says, "What's the point of doing art if it's not something you want to look at? what a waste of time! you're not having fun, so just toss it all in and go be a couch potato....fuck it."

I'm reading Art and Fear, I believe I've mentioned that book a few times, and it is SO comforting. All the shit I am going through is all the shit anyone goes through and more specifically what all artists experience. I'm also reading a couple of other books I picked up at the downtown library today, on art and creativity -- more validation that while art is fun and sometimes just flows, it is also really difficult.

At least I haven't started smoking again. I did eat a gigantic bowl of popcorn late last night though. I'm going to watch something cool now. Like Spirited Away, or maybe Tekkonkinkreet (amazing japanese/american animation based on a graphic novel).

Oh alright, here - I did this bad boy with dental floss and paint (acrylic, and tempera)!
Try clicking on it for the biggie size. If that doesn't work, click here for extra big and here for big




I did some watercolors tonight; the above is a slice of one. I think tomorrow I'll mess around with cutting them up and re-assembling them into stronger pieces.
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Saturday. All Day.

A Flat Day, In Fact. That is to say, most of the figure drawing from this morning turned out very flat and stiff. There were a few round bits. They're all in the trash, except for a few digital excerpts and this is the one I find most beguiling:


This one is kind of cool in places but it's also unsettling, confusing and a little creepy.

I worked in conté which isn't altogether unfamiliar, but I haven't worked with it for any sustained length of time or with four colors as I did here. I did tend to lose myself in the lines which was fun but also resulted in a big "huh?" factor looking on it afterwards. I did enjoy experimenting even though I don't really enjoy looking at the end results.

One of my fellow artists said, "And then there are many days when you just show up." True, true. I felt like that many times today -- I'm here, I'm not excited, but I'm here and I'm going to just draw, regardless. I almost packed up my supplies and left several times over. Learning how to stay put is a lesson I'm learning -- and knowing when to leave or end a (_______) is a lesson I'm learning too. All about the balance, grasshopper, or, as Kenny Rogers sings, "Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

Another thing I aim to develop are strategies for days like yesterday: itchy, discontent, tired, underconfident, uninspired. I'm reading several good books on art and artists (well you know, hopping around/skimming, snacking on them) and I've been reminded that if you think you need to wait for inspiration to strike in order to do art, you will be waiting a very long time, my friend. Sometimes.......you just have to show up.

I imagine doing things like prepping canvases, cutting paper for gesture drawing (I draw it off a long roll of butcher paper), or practicing very simple and rote exercises would be good strategies for coping with low-energy days. Chocolate is an option too.....

Tonight my two best gal pals came over and we used the big plate dishes I bought last summer when I moved in here for the first time - and also the tea pot. Things I bought for the event when I'd actually have company over for tea and/or a meal. It was really nice. I'm glad our schedules finally synched up -- usually I go over to their place but they wanted to come here and it worked out nicely. It was funny/cool/strange to have three bodies in this postage-stamp-sized apartment. I'm also really feeling the crunch since I've started to work bigger and want to involve myself with more than one project at a time. Maybe next year I'll find a bigger space to live and do art in.

This inspires me:





It's an installation of 308 drawings by Dean Nimmer, the author of a book I'm reading titled Art From Intuition. I totally want to do something like this. I want to appropriate a whole wall and fill it with similarly sized drawing/paintings. It's so exciting to look at. He issued a challenge to himself: to create a thousand drawings in one year. He writes of this experience:

"I quickly realized that to accomplish this goal, I was going to have to change several bad habits that had become ingrained in my painting process. Among these habits were: becoming fixated on one painting for long periods of time; trying to determine whether each piece I made was "good" before I went on to the next; sticking to the same palette or medium for too long; and holding steadfastly to the notion that my work should have a consistency or "style" that would give it an overall identity. Over the course of completing the drawings, I discovered that all the ideas I held sacred were in fact holding me back from real discovery and new possibilities for my art. I came to understand that in order to avoid these pitfalls, it was much better to allow my instincts and intuition to show me the way, and to stop being so self-conscious."

I wonder what method he used in choosing the sequence of display. Was it simply chronological, or did he remap it for more visual interest? I will try to find an email for him, and ask. He seems like a really cool guy and I like what he's written so far. A sense of adventure and willingness to experiment - very contagious :)

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sunday..........

I finished a project today that mushroomed into something way lengthier and more involved than I had anticipated. And now I am knackered, in a good way, and I also planted beets this afternoon and went for a bike ride and cleaned the studio and said hi to friends so yeah it's a full to the brim sort of sunny sunday huzzah!

The pics are not so great, but anyways.......watercolor, recombined pieces, collaged, paint, more collage.....whew. This might count for another final project for school. Considering the time investment, I hope it fills at least a dual-purpose. I like how some of it turned out. It was a good exercise in freestyling to begin with, just painting aimlessly; and then doing something new and unplanned with it but slicing, dicing and puzzling it back together. Also helped me look at figure/ground and positive/negative space more closely, which is good since that's what we're all about in Basic Design.





Monday, April 12, 2010

Mon Apr 12 - Sun Apr 18


Well hello! Would you happen to have a few extra hours I could borrow? Or actually, could you permanently lend them to me? On a daily basis? That'd be grand. Yer such a pal!!! Thanks!

I found some wicked art blogs, with tutorials and podcasts. I would like to sift through all of the information and maybe eventually I will. Maybe that is what spring break is for!

This is me tonight, after a few hours' worth of math:

Have you seen The Fantastic Mr. Fox? No? Oh for heaven's sake! You really should!

This was me this morning:


This is what I sketched:
And these were last night's efforts, which I really loved getting into!





My piece didn't make it into the Juried Show, or the Salon Des Refuses. Boo hiss! Aw wells. I'm glad I don't feel totally crushed. The Salon only housed about eight pieces. When our Downtown Salon is hosted at New Zone, any piece not chosen for the Mayor's Art Show is shuttled happily on over to the Salon. The Salon on campus is a closet-sized space, not a huge gallery. C'est la vie :)

I scored a 97% on my first math test. Thank god for confidence boosters right outta the gate!

Time to wind down soon with a nice art flick. I choose.........Pollock! It'll be good to see again even without the impetus of a class assignment to create a piece of art in the manner of said person (due in a couple weeks). Next monday, we're to hand in a collage on the theme of death, birth, or music -- or a combination of one or more. Hmmmm....

You know what? It's interesting that in the Basic Design class, we've been doing all these geometric figures (math!) (linear!) -- in another class project I saw on display today, they were charged with inventing their own 'font' with a found object dipped in ink (I think that was the gist of it). So there were these really awesome alphabets in ink, swooshed on white paper, made with the likes of, what, twigs? and stuff? I thought immediately, wow. I wish we had done that in Design. I would've rocked. I really love letters. I really don't excel in geometry. I really appreciate what other people do and I think it's so cool, but my brain isn't very agile in that area.

But then again, it's probably a good thing that I'm doing stuff that's difficult. Right? Right!

Same with the collage assignment. I love seeing what other folk have done. I'm not so great at them myself (or at least I'm not often excited about what I collage).

Check out Wangechi Mutu. Or another of hers. I mean, that is the shit, right!! Maybe I should just bare-faced copy her style. After all, I did just learn a quote (author unknown) "Good artists borrow; great artists steal". Okay you know I'm only joking around, but we all do inspire each other -- and studying and emulating is a great way to develop one's own style and skillz. My mail art pal Haddock does some pretty rockin' collage style art too, actually. Maybe I'll do something 3D.

Nighters!

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oooooright it's tuesday and a good thing I left this window open and bookmarked to say something before I sign off. I was just doing some math homework. In an unlikely turn of events, I'd discovered that it is sometimes a relief to do math: even though there are variables, there are strict rules and known quantities. Rules to follow and formulas to apply. Very predictable. Too much of this and I go bonkers, sure. Now if I could apply this logic to my right brain more often it'd be so damn great: learning math is learning a skill set. Learning how to draw (and see) is also learning a skill set. Sounds good, right? It's true. I still doubt my ability to form a solid drawing skill set, even though I've drawn lots of stuff.....and some stuff I like.

And of course I love art precisely because it is unpredictable. I also feel a bit hedgy with it sometimes, too. You know.

I know an art instructor up on campus, through a former co-worker at the library. John's wife Carrie teaches drawing and we saw each other today, which is always a pleasure. I'm considering repeating ART 131 this summer and attending her course. I like what she says, how she says it, and I think I could learn a lot from her. She gave me her syllabus this afternoon because conversation turned to expectations and art (surprise). Her course outline is much different than Mr. G's (the dude I'm taking intro drawing from this term).

On Carrie's syllabus are Some Rules and Hints For Students and Teachers by John Cage. I'll give you the first few and save some for next time:

Rule 1: Find a place you trust and then, try trusting it for awhile.
Rule 2: General duties of a student - Pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students.
Rule 3: General duties of a teacher - Pull everything out of your students.
Rule 4: Consider everything an experiment.
Rule 5: Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

YAY AND HALLELUJAH!! It's everything I've always wanted and aspired to!

Tomorrow I meet with an academic advisor to make a two-year plan and be approved for Advanced Registration. OOH YEAH!!


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Wednesday!



Feel so much better after scrubbing around with some charcoal and throwing some new experimental skillz in the mix today. I like it and I see oodles more I can do with it but the bottom line is, I'm so glad I did something that deviates from the still-life stuff but employs some of the things we're learning in Drawing. My drawing session today has definitely put some positive reverbs in the stratosphere (or, my stratosphere...).

I'm strongly considering writing a letter to the art department requesting that instructors use different approaches to encourage students, and cut some of the shit out that is going on. To be quite frank, I'm displeased and really surprised by how every single art instructor turns art into a competitive arena:

"We're gonna kick the intermediate classes' ass!"
"Here are some examples from another class for this assignment.....but I'm sure your work will far surpass it."

I am not kidding you, I shit you not. What is the deal? I know I've been out of academia for a good long while, and maybe that's a moot point anyway. Maybe that kind of attitude doesn't bug most people. I think that elevating one person or group at the expense of someone else sucks rotten eggs though. Especially when it comes to creative efforts. I also don't advocate that my personal trajectory, pace, rate of discovery or quality of production should be measured against anyone else but me. What a strange way to teach classes.

Math class was actually quite fun tonight!

It's already past ten, math homework awaits, and so it's a short post.

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thursday.






That's a wrap.

I'm feeling discouraged today. tonight. now. ugh.

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Friday!
"If you want to be an artist, it's not by having original ideas,
but by working your way through it."
Willem de Kooning

I'm reading a pocket-sized book on the Essentials of that guy. So far I am loving it. I'm also watching Pollock, which is by turns breathtaking and heart-wrenching. Goddamned artists! Bunch of drama queens! heh heh

Sooo last night after being bleary-eyed and searching through magazines for images to collage with for an upcoming assignment for Intro to Visual Art, I just about gave up. But then I remembered something I read in Art and Fear: "The point is that you learn how to make your work by making your work, and a great many pieces you make along the way will never stand out as finished art."

Sooo even though I was bleary-eyed I decided to just make my work. I started pushing paint around, and painting some sumi-paper, and collaging. Then I went to bed and cried. And then told myself some nice things about The Pain and The Process and On Being a Drama Queen. This morning I woke up, skipped breakfast, the dishes, brushing my teeth, emails, and painted this some more in between loads of laundry and the sun warming the land:


Thank god I have wide hips for birthing these big-ass breach babies! Huzzah! Yes I am inspired by Abstract Expressionism. Taking no pains to bury the strokes and in fact placing high importance on the visible working of a canvas and paint. I like this one!

Then I spent more hours making my work. I'll use this one for the upcoming assignment on collage and save the above for the assignment in which we are asked to create something in the manner of Pollock. So this thing here was a big long process. I'm laughing my ass off now, because it is such a minimalist sort of thing, you think maybe an hour to do it. But I was totally in the dark, in an unfamiliar room, and it took me forever to find the damn light switch! But, I like this one too. Then I went for a bike ride and grocery shopping.

Part of The Process was searching the internet for examples and inspiration. I really admire a good collage/artist. It's a thing I've not spent much time with, but I would really like to. So this exercise was invaluable. I discovered Romare Bearden. A. Maze. Ing.

Sooo the other night I felt really discouraged, if you'll recall. I certainly do. I'm expecting more of my instructors and they're falling short of the mark. Mr. G lets us out early......every day. 20 minutes, half hour, an hour. I've stopped by his room during office hours for help with critique on my work and he's not in; I've called his non-office number and it doesn't work. He sets us up with a still life and leaves. Then he cuts class and vacates campus. It's ridiculous and I'm pissed off. I'm enrolled in college. I'm enrolled because I'm here to learn, not try to get out of class or slide by. Just as we are accountable to our instructors, the reverse is certainly true.

I talked with Carrie, who I know a bit - she's a drawing instructor. She said that it's a good thing I'm not doing an IS with Mr. G (Independent Study) -- it's three weeks into the term and those students haven't been able to reach the dude either. Fucking bullshit! She encouraged me to write a letter to the department director. This really bites, I mean......c'mon, man.......I just want direction, and learning, and guidance. I don't wanna babysit or start some pissing war you know. Blah. But I'll talk with the director.

Also, I am going to suggest that instructors cut the language of competition - if I haven't mentioned that already in a post? I've been ranting about it in my head enough, can't recall if I've spewed it onto the virtual page yet. So all three of my art instructors are focused on it in various ways and oh yes now I do remember saying something about this a couple few days ago.

Stir it up!!

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Saturday. ! ? .

How did I end up on the floor by the door making that gyre-y supernova cave painting collage the other night?! Feels like years ago. But.....why was I on the floor? I started on the table, and then......yes, the floor. Huh.

Have you heard of Halie Loren? Have you heard her sing? Oh my golly. Went with some friends to her concert tonight. Beyond phenomenal, and all of the the musicians, quite an ensemble. And I WON A CD! Jazzy stuff without all the noise. Sultry stuff. Fun stuff!

I love that these illos are drawn by Britt, who is a girl! If Ralph Steadman was female....

Our model this morning wore dreads and posed as Pan, The Thinker, Pilates Person and Tai Chi Practitioner. Cute.

So there was this epiphany that visited me earlier but now it's gone. I hope it returns.
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Sunday.

An absolutely gorgeous day. Warm, sunny. Made a great mess inside, doing a personalized alphabet project from another Basic Design class. Well, hey. Our instructor cancelled class on thursday so I had some extra time.....plus this is right up my alley: mixing language and art! Five found objects, making marks, finding letters or reassembling the marks to represent a letter. And then making up my own (palindromic N!). Really fun time with this today, windows open and messing about.










I'm having a hard time figuring out the new blogger formatting so bear with me. I want to insert some text above but it's turning into HTML. So I'm skipping to the end here.......The two charcoals are from saturday morning's figure drawing (the taibo/tai chi model, right). Meh, okay, learning learning.

The aforementioned and forgotten epiphany? It has something to do with struggle and submission. And stepping out of my own way and, as corny as this sounds I can't believe I'm saying it.....being of service to something greater than myself, or My Ego. I guess a healthy ego is a nice thing to have hanging around, but the ego I'm talking about insists on trying to control everything you know? And it's not working out for the rest of me and doing art. So during the concert last night while contemplating how people develop their craft and passion, I thought maybe I should just....submit and stop trying so hard. The harder I try, the worse I feel. I think the harder I try, the better I'll be at my craft, or whatever, but the trying I'm talking about isn't productive. It's recursive and frantic.

Once again it's late and I'm fading, dammit! Need to do some math still, so, until next time, adieu for the nonce.